I know everyone always talks about spring cleaning, but this year I got a little bit of a late start on that. Something about summer to me just always feels fresh and lighter, and it makes me want my life and home to reflect that, too! That’s why I made a huge task list for ways to simplify everything down right as summer officially began.
With my old roommate moving out in the first week of June, it felt like the perfect time to “move” myself out as well. Whenever I move to a new apartment, I end up throwing out a ton of things I don’t need, donating old clothes, and re-organizing everything in general. Even though I was staying put, I challenged myself to still go through those motions. I ended up accomplishing a ton, and I have never felt so stress-free and de-cluttered!
My friends were teasing me about how over the top I took it because I kept sending snapchats of my progress along the way, but it was seriously worth the few days of obsessive cleaning and getting my life together. Every day I’ve come home since has felt refreshing and calm.
I have been so happy with the results that I wanted to share with all of you some of the steps I learned to help you simplify and de-clutter your life and personal space for the summer months, too! Obviously, it’s tempting to brush all of this aside when the sun is shining, but a rainy summer evening might be the perfect time to come back to this list and get started. Glass of wine in hand, of course.
De-Clutter & Let Things Go
This one might seem a bit obvious, and is likely the most dreaded on this list, but bear with me. If you didn’t get around to a big spring cleaning overhaul (guilty!) the start of summer is the perfect time to knock this out. Save it for a rainy day when you’re stuck inside, grab a bottle of wine, blast some music or let some movies play in the background and go to work. I had to make some tough calls, but every garbage bag that I filled and every item that I cleaned left me feeling lighter and lighter. My head space has been so much more free to enjoy the little things, like a book on the patio or an evening walk around the park, when I don’t have to think about all of the things I should be doing.
Some quick and easy examples of what topped my list: cleaning out and re-organizing the storage under my bed, paring down my closet to the essentials + some favorites, cleaning out my desk drawers/vanity/nightstands, dusting and vacuuming often neglected spaces, and lightening up my decor to something fresh and simple!
Stock up on Summer Favorites
I’ve been challenging myself to eat out less and fill the fridge at home with things that make me happy and excited to stay in the kitchen, rather than reach for the takeout menu. Summer foods are the best, and I’ve been loving stocking up on things like fresh cut fruit, veggies, items to grill out with, some fresh-squeezed and refreshing juices…and of course some summer sweets like popsicles and ice cream to beat the heat! Everything in moderation, naturally.
It sounds silly when you think about it, but having all of these tasty and refreshing snacks and meals on hand at all times has genuinely made me happier overall. I feel much better about myself when I can whip up a delicious salad (like this one or my favorite here!) than dropping $13 on delivery + double the calories. Simplify your food choices and your body and mind will both thank you for it!
Keep Your Schedule Balanced & Forgiving
This one is particularly hard if you’re a fellow Chicago resident, but I’m sure to some degree all of you can relate that when the summer months roll around, our social calendars tend to double…or triple. That’s exciting and definitely something you shouldn’t say no to! I’ve learned over the years, however, that I tend to overextend myself when it comes to social plans, and it leaves me feeling exhausted, stressed, and my wallet particularly drained.
I have to work closely to make sure that I’m filling my weeks with fun and different activities to soak in as much summer sun as I can, while still giving myself the time and space I need to recover and rest. Balance isn’t always easy to accomplish, so if you’re struggling you can try out the 2+2+1 rule: 2 social engagements, 2 days/nights where you do something relaxing for yourself (and preferably something free!), and 1 bonus night to be flexible for things like particularly busy weeks or ones where the weather is less than ideal and you want to curl up at home.
This little trick helped me a lot to start finding balance and simplicity when I first started out, and now it feels like second nature!